When I was twelve years old my Dad and I were visiting the
old 300 acre Black farm near Pickaway, West Virginia. My Dad,
with his brother Cary Black, were fixing the old pump that
supplied water up the steep hill... water for the home of my two
old maid Aunts, Aunt Stella and Aunt (Fats) Lelia. (Aunt Lelia
weighed 280 pounds so when my Dad and Uncle Cary got
together for one of their bull
sessions they would laugh, slap each other on their backs and
generally have a good time discussing Aunt Lelia. Of course,
Aunt Lelia never got wind of this and it was probably just as
well as she could no doubt whip both of them.)
Fixing the water pump was no easy task as it was old and was
"jerry-wrinched" each time it was fixed. So I stayed away from
the men generally as it was just no place to be if you get my
drift. I had wondered to a nearby field that had been mowed
early that morning and the two black work horses taken to the
barn where they got a belly full of water, cleaned up and then
put in the barn.
I new that Dad had a poke full of sandwiches.... peanut
butter and grape jelly I bet.... as Mom always said they "held
up better." Sure enough I found Dad resting on the ground
outside the pump house. "Where have you been Bobby? I told you
we would have sandwiches at noon... it's almost 12:30!!!"
"Yeah, well I did the best I could going by sun... you know I
don't have a watch." I replied.
"I saw a big copperhead snake out in the field over yonder,"
hoping to stop the yakking over me being a little late. It
worked. Uncle Cary came along, reached in our bag, bent over
and took a sandwich. "I doubt if it was a copperhead, Bobby. We
don't have many on this farm. Dogs killed them all last
summer. Now that was as bunch of bull I thought but I kept
quiet. Uncle Cary argued about everything. Dad said this was
because Uncle Cary was a Republican... whatever that is...
At Dad's request Mon put sulphur water in our gallon jug so
Uncle Cary had nothing to drink. Dad and I liked sulphur
water.. poor Uncle Cary. A real pain in the butt this guy
"The snake I saw was as long as you two guys are tall I
bet... 12 feet at most." "OK," said my Dad, "that's enough out
of you. Was your snake in the shade?" "Yep." "Then lets walk
over there and take a look at this 12 foot snake...!!!??
As Dad and I walked along I was wondering what I was going to
say when we found no snake. Then I looked up and saw this big
bird flying over our heads. "Hey, Dad. What the heck kind of
bird is that... he's a big one, right?" "Yep, he's big
alright.. and look there's another one over there. Bobby, those
two are Bald Eagles. Pretty aren't they?"
"Oh, no." Said my Dad. " I think they are going to mate one
another.... "OK, there're starting.... I'll tell you what they
are doing... you can ask your Mother later about Bald Eagles
"When two Bald Eagles court... you know... love one
another...each bird fly slowly... the male above the female.
Then all at once the male swoops down towards his mate. Then
before she turns upside down and pushes her big feet up. Now
while the two birds are locked together they start to tumble to
the ground... kinda out of control. But at the last minute the
birds break free. Now they go.. flying a part... flying in
different directions." "It's over, son. All over."
"Dad, I didn't get much of what you said... and those birds
went so fast. I guess farm kids know all about birds courting
"Ask your Mother like I said, that's her job." And that's all
he said all the home to Alderson. I should have stayed home and
gone swimming. Live and learn I always say....